What is a Notice of Eviction?

Tara Barnett

A notice of eviction is a document given to a tenant that provides notification of a landlord's intention to evict him or her from the property. In many cases, eviction notices that include conditions for avoiding eviction are provided, and if the tenant meets the requirements stipulated in the notice of eviction, he or she may avoid losing the rental unit. Most areas have specific legal guidelines for writing eviction notices and if these guidelines are not followed, the tenant may be able disregard the notice.

A 30 day notice of eviction posted on an apartment door.
A 30 day notice of eviction posted on an apartment door.

Often, a notice of eviction must provide the tenant with sufficient time to vacate the premises. These time frames vary by jurisdiction, but may be as long as three months. While any landlord can write an eviction notice without legal assistance, it is best to write such a notice only when fully informed about the laws in the area covering eviction.

Commonly, a notice of eviction includes the date on which it was issued as well as the date on which the tenant will be evicted. It typically must address the tenant by name in order to ensure the correct person receives the notice. The document will usually cite the section of the lease that the tenant has violated, such as keeping a pet without permission or smoking indoors. If the notice of eviction is conditional, then the precise way in which the tenant must rectify the situation will be included in the document as well. When the notice is absolute, the document will usually specifically note this.

An eviction notice is not a letter, and it typically is written formally. Though an eviction notice may be stern, it does not mean that the landlord is not amenable to discussing the issue. If the eviction notice includes false information, the person who issued the notice should be notified immediately. Also, any questions or concerns should be brought up with the landlord by formal paper notification. Proper documentation may help later if the situation escalates and ends up in court.

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Ignoring an eviction notice can result in possessions being removed from a rental unit as well as police involvement. Usually, a landlord cannot lock a tenant out of an apartment even if he or she violated the lease. If there are concerns about the eviction, the case can be brought to a court that will decide which party is in the right. Both the tenant and the landlord must be careful to follow the law and abide by the lease precisely because any deviation can result in an undesirable outcome for the deviating party.

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